Sunday, August 13, 2006

SB438 and Proposition 89

Frank Russo for the California Progress Report:

An article in yesterday’s Sacramento Bee, "E-mail no-no cancels event: Potential givers were told they could discuss bill with governor," provides us with yet another powerful example of why we need the reforms in Proposition 89, the Clean Money initiative put on the ballot by the California Nurses Association. Read this piece and you will wonder:

Why plastic surgeons were expected to give $500,000 to the Schwarzenegger campaign and some felt this was necessary to be able to discuss a bill with him?

Why Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill they opposed in 2004, SB 1336, which dealt with what is basically a turf war between plastic surgeons and dentists and passed the Assembly 67-2 and the Senate 30-0?Why the Executive Director of the California Society of Facial Plastic Surgery, a group of over 200 members would e-mail them that "This event will provide us with a very important opportunity to discuss our opinions about Senate Bill 438 with the governor” at a time when that measure is making its way though the legislature at the end of the session and about to be placed on the Governor’s desk?

This is how the game is played in Sacramento.
How many other groups with issues pending in Sacramento feel the need to hold fundraisers to get "access" to the Governor and other officeholders?

You’ve got to wonder how many times this has been on people's minds as we have a record number of fundraisers in Sacramento in August as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Capitol Weekly in the last couple of days.This is beginning to be one of the biggest open secrets in town. What made the particular plastic surgeon's fundraiser news is that there was a written record of the expected quid pro quo: You give money, you get to talk.